Google Music ‘to launch by Christmas’
Google’s rival to Apple’s iTunes music download service is set to go live before Christmas, according to reports
Google is in advanced talks with record labels about the imminent launch of a music download and storage service that could launch in time for Christmas, Reuters reports.
Andy Rubin, Google’s vice president of engineering and one of the key figures behind the company’s Android mobile operating system, is said to have been “leading conversations” with the music industry.
He aims to have Google Music up and running by Christmas, two unnamed sources told Reuters.
The service is expected to include a music download store that will go head-to-head with Apple’s iTunes music store, and other rival services such as Play Digital and Amazon MP3, as well as a digital "music locker" that will store people’s music collection "in the cloud" so it can be accessed from a variety of internet-enabled devices.
Google revealed some details about its music service plans in May, at its annual I/O developer event in California.
The service is expected to be closely linked to its Android mobile operating system, and may even be launched to coincide with the release of Android 2.2, the next software update for the platform.
It will mark a new phase in Google’s rivalry with Apple. The two companies are going head-to-head in a growing number of areas, including mobile, desktop operating systems, music and online advertising.
Google has made no further official comment about its music service, but one record industry executive, who did not wish to be named, said the labels believed the search giant could genuinely compete with Apple.
"Finally, here's an entity with the reach, resources and wherewithal to take on iTunes as a formidable competitor by tying it into search and Android mobile platform," the industry executive told Reuters.
"What you'll have is a very powerful player in the market that's good for the music business."
Apple is expected to launch its own cloud-based iTunes service sooner rather than later. The company acquired Lala, a music-streaming service, last year for an undisclosed fee.
Google has also snapped up businesses in this sector, buying a remote media company, called Simplify Media, last May.
Cloud-based streaming services such as Spotify and We7 are growing in popularity among consumers, and many industry experts believe Google and Apple are watching the market with interest.
“If [Google] get it right, it will hasten the transition by consumers from music you have to own to music you need ubiquitous access too,” Ted Cohen, a former executive at EMI, told Reuters.